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Big City, The

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Big City, The

Published 1950s

05:36:40:18 Great shot 1950s St. Louis traffic police car pulls up to curb, number 72 on side of car; police officer in passenger seat looks up; enormous ornate clock on building reads 6:25; police officer drives through empty city street of St. Louis earl morning; old man, shopkeeper, watches car cop car drive by, CU broom swooping trash on sidewalk, CU VS brooms sweeping trash on to the sidewalk; CU bottle of whisky is smashed on the curb.

05:37:42:27 Homeless man with scruffy face looks up and scratches chin; ornate clock on side of building reads 6:40; CU alarm clock reads 6:40; CU different alarm clock on table reads 6:40; CU clock in ornate frame with roman numerals reads 6:40; CU alarm clock reads 6:40; CU disembodied hand reaches for buzzing alarm clock; CU disembodied hand turns on faucets and washes hands with bar of soap in sink; CU disembodied hand turns on hot water handle for shower; CU shower head turns on; CU VS running faucets; disembodied woman’s arms washing dishes in sink.

05:38:24:14 Low-angle CU man with shaving cream lather on face shaving; CU running sink faucet, disembodied hand enters frame holding safety razor, rinses razor under water.

05:38:32:21 Man checks meter at the city reservoir and writes on clipboard; CU meter measuring water usage.

05:38:43:21 CU telephone with rotary dial rings; man answers phone; VS inside water reservoir; man turns up water pumps.

05:39:20:00 Great shot from Mississippi River, of an old lighthouse and bridge; old water reservoir and water treatment facility, train pulls up in front of building; VS water treatment plant; great shot of enormous water pumps monitored by workers.

05:40:53:19 CU clock with roman numerals mounted on brick wall reads 8:58.

05:41:00:19 CU water rushing over machine to cool the pieces it is producing; water used to cool steel in steel mill; water used in foundry to cool piece of metal being shaped.

05:41:51:11 Three 1950s cars pull up to crosswalk at stop light; CU traffic light; CU disembodied gloved hand opens traffic signal controller box, hand changes timers in box; CU traffic light changes to green; cars take off; VS CU traffic lights.

05:42:26:02 CU traffic light with turn arrow. High-angle crane shot over intersection with cars making left turns; cross-walk signal changes from Don’t Walk to Walk; high-angle shot people crossing intersection.

05:42:37:01 CU “Radar Controlled” sign above a “Speed Limit 30” sign; CU “Speed Limit 40” sign; CU traffic signal; CU disembodied hand cleans traffic signal light bulb.

05:42:55:13 CU trucks odometer measuring feet; CU brush attached to truck to painting street lines; man sits on back of truck laying cones. Clock on clock tower reads 8:45.

05:43:32:07 Great high-angle shot of huge jam-packed parking lot.

05:43:35:27 CU antique clock with roman numerals reads 8:55.

05:43:45:23 1950s men and women enter elevator, man manually closes door; CU face bored bald man taking elevator, man looks up; great POV shot from top of elevator traveling up elevator shaft; women exit elevator; man repairing elevator, repairman rides on top of elevator.

05:45:06:12 VS CU disembodied hand throws away trash; disembodied hands sweep trash into dustbin; trash thrown into trash can.

05:45:26:11 VS garbage trucks pulling out of garage; garbage trunks dump trash into incinerator; African-American man checks the furnaces of the municipal incinerator; CU African-American man lifts latch of incinerator furnace, CU burning cans and trash; Black man turns to camera with latch to incinerator open, man is drenched in sweat, wearing round sunglasses.

05:46:45:14 Clock reads 10:24, one meter on both sides of the clock.

05:46:49:11 CU test tube is waved over a Bunsen burner, alarm clock behind and to the right of the burner reads 10:25; mostly women working in laboratory with variety of long glass test tubes, women looking into microscopes.

05:47:05:24 CU document from St. Louis Health Division dated Jan. 1 1956 with stamp “S. Typhosa Found.”

05:47:09:04 Doctor in lab coat looks at large map of St. Louis mounted on the wall; CU disembodied hand places pin in map in area with various other pins already in the map.

05:47:17:27 Net is thrown on a black dog.

05:05:47:22:18 Disembodied gloved hand carrying container marked “Poison” , poison is sprayed into a dirty hole; rat falls over dead in a cloud of noxious fumes, the dead rat is shoveled out of frame; tube enters frame and sprays fumes into a gutter.

05:47:36:02 CU disembodied hand lifts up a glass bottle of milk from a delivery holster.

05:47:46:11 CU decal on side of car reads “City of St. Louis 703 Health Dept.” car drives off down street.

05:48:07:15 CU two babies in hospital cribs, one AfricanAmerican, the other White.

05:48:30:01 CU disembodied doctor’s hand, with silver watch around rest, examines with stethoscope newborn baby.

05:48:35:06 VS interracial group of school children about five years old holding hands walking in a circle in the school gymnasium; VS audience of mother’s with their young children; group of six cute little children about 4 years old; CU cute little boy wearing sweater and a bow tie sits on the ground trying to tie his show; little boy runs down empty hall; little opens door and peaks into room.

05:49:15:18 VS old women in a sewing circle; little boy peaking around the door runs away; women behind sewing machines.

05:49:47:26 VS community sports: men’s softball; mixed doubles tennis; soccer; boxing (African-American teen boxing White teen); women’s field hockey.

05:50:04:07 MS cute little boy wearing a bow tie takes big bite of hot dog.

05:50:09:03 VS cricket match; CU little boy wearing bow tie chewing his hot dog.

05:50:20:14 silhouettes of children fishing in a pond sparkling at sunset, man watches over them.

05:50:29:16 Man painting batter’s box.

05:50:38:02 Men painting lines on soccer field, man in foreground fixes goal post.

05:51:03:25 Pan over from row of greenhouses to St. Louis highway.

05:51:20:30 Large clock on building reads 6:00; great shot mayor walks through doorway at City Hall toward camera; crane shot mayor leaving City Hall, mayor walks down large staircase.

05:52:27:23 Great shot of large car garage, two long rows of cars all with their hoods up, mechanic works beneath car; various CU of city vehicle decals “City of St. Louis Lighting Div. 506”; “City of St. Louis Parking Meter 8”; “City of St. Louis Board of Public Service 69”; “City of St. Louis Board of Children’s Guardians 1”; “City of St. Louis Weight & Measures 5”; “Mosquito Control Health Div. 717”; “Dept. of Streets & Sewers 6;” night time street sweeper, sweeping under the street lights; CU broom sweeping trash along curbside; great high-angle shot two street sweepers under spotlights.

05:53:33:05 CU disembodied hand playing checkers; MS old policeman resting head on hand thinking.

05:54:16:04 Great shot old bald man wearing bowtie turns head away from camera, camera follows man’s gaze to large map of St. Louis; CU disembodied man’s hand with doodles on notepad, repeatedly bangs pencil tip against paper.

05:54:33:06 CU emergency call dispatcher quickly patches line and answers phone “Fire alarm”; firemen asleep in twin beds, alarm goes off, lights switch on, firemen jump out of bed; CU fireman’s feet slide into his boots at the foot of his bed; firemen sliding down fire pole; garage at fire station 6 opens, fire trucks speed out of station; firemen pull up to large fire in city building; CU fireman wearing helmet looks up at fire, water sprays on his face.

05:55:48:27 Camera pans down long row of lights and switches, camera zooms in on the one flashing light; fireman chief wearing helmet grabs radio from car and calls for two ambulances; CU radio with audio track fireman’s voice coming through the radio; CU St. Louis city map with numbered lights, numbers 25, 5, 2, and 4 light up; CU emergency call dispatcher speaks into radio “second alarm from box 24, 13th 15th and Cass.”

05:56:36:01 CU disembodied hand over checkerboard holding two checker pieces; VS ambulances and fire trucks leaving stations, VS St. Louis firemen fighting fire.

05:58:09:01 Great high-angle crane shot tracks police car weave through various St. Louis streets, and pull up in front of city hall; clock on City Hall reads 7:47.

Producer Guggenheim (Charles) & Associates, Inc.
Sponsor City of St. Louis
Audio/Visual sound, color


Script and Direction: Charles Guggenheim. Production: Richard Heffron. Music by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (Capitol Records).


Reviewer: JamesDeancoolguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 18, 2012
Subject: Year
The date of this film according to CITWF Complete Index To World Film is 1956.
Reviewer: Bob Chapman - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 15, 2012
Subject: Clarification on the rundown
05:36:40:18--The ornate clock is on City Hall.

05:39:20:00--That is not a lighthouse. It is the water intake for the Chain of Rocks Treatment Plant (Chain of Rocks Bridge is in the background).

I remember seeing this film in a social studies class in ninth grade (1968-1969 school year).
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 30, 2012
Subject: Bright Lights
Quite outstanding little documentary about the Day In The Life of a big city, in this case, St. Louis. All sorts of jobs and occupations are shown here, from the city sweepers, to elevator repairmen, to garbage collectors. All sorts of jobs done, and people going here and there. It all has a very early 60's vibe to it that is really quite appealing. Very nicely done. This is a MUST SEE on this site!
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